Saturday, July 21, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Computational Molecular Species Delimitation and Taxonomic Revision of the Gecko Genus Ebenavia Boettger, 1878


Ebenavia safari
Hawlitschek, Scherz, Ruthensteiner, Crottini & Glaw, 2018


Abstract
Cryptic species have been detected in many groups of organisms and must be assumed to make up a significant portion of global biodiversity. We study geckos of the Ebenavia inunguis complex from Madagascar and surrounding islands and use species delimitation algorithms (GMYC, BOLD, BPP), COI barcode divergence, diagnostic codon indels in the nuclear marker PRLR, diagnostic categorical morphological characters, and significant differences in continuous morphological characters for its taxonomic revision. BPP yielded ≥ 10 operational taxonomic units, whereas GMYC (≥ 27) and BOLD (26) suggested substantial oversplitting. In consequnce, we resurrect Ebenavia boettgeri Boulenger 1885 and describe Ebenavia tuelinae sp. nov.Ebenavia safari sp. nov., and Ebenavia robusta sp. nov., increasing the number of recognised species in Ebenavia from two to six. Further lineages of Ebenavia retrieved by BPP may warrant species or subspecies status, but further taxonomic conclusions are postponed until more data become available. Finally, we present an identification key to the genus Ebenavia, provide an updated distribution map, and discuss the diagnostic values of computational species delimitation as well as morphological and molecular diagnostic characters.

Keywords: BOLD, Operational Taxonomic Unit, Madagascar clawless gecko, Integrative taxonomy, Taxonomic inflation, Species complex 


Genus Ebenavia Boettger, 1878 
Type species: Ebenavia inunguis Boettger, 1878


Diagnosis and description: A comprehensive diagnosis and description of the genus Ebenavia are provided in Nussbaum and Raxworthy (1998). Our data on the genus leads us to agree with the findings of that study, except that we were not able to confirm the presence of claws on the pes of any of the females we examined, as reported by these authors, in agreement with Boettger (1878) and many subsequent authors. We did not examine any specimens of E. maintimainty

Content: Ebenavia inunguis Boettger, 1878; E. boettgeri Boulenger, 1885; E. maintimainty Nussbaum & Raxworthy, 1998; and three new species described below. 

Distribution: Madagascar except most of the central and western areas; all major island areas of the Comoros Archipelago; Pemba Island (Tanzania); Mauritius.


Ebenavia inunguis Boettger, 1878 

Ebenavia boettgeri Boulenger, 1885, bona species 

Ebenavia tuelinae sp. nov. 

Etymology: A matronym dedicated to the first author’s partner Tülin (alternative spelling Tuelin) for her ceaseless support of this and other works and for her excellent spotting abilities in the field.


Ebenavia safari, a newly described species from northern Madagascar, which also occurs on the Tanzanian island of Pemba


Ebenavia safari sp. nov.

Etymology: Safari’ means ‘voyage’ in the Kiswahili and Comoran (Shimaoré) languages spoken across the range of this species outside Madagascar. The name was chosen because this species dispersed over surprisingly long distances across the open ocean. It is treated as an unlatinised, invariable noun in apposition.


Ebenavia robusta sp. nov. 

Etymology: The specific name is the feminine form of the Latin adjective ‘robustus’, meaning ‘robust’ or ‘sturdy’. It was chosen because this species is the largest and most sturdily built member of this genus of small geckos.


Oliver Hawlitschek, Mark D. Scherz, Bernhard Ruthensteiner, Angelica Crottini and Frank Glaw. 2018. Computational Molecular Species Delimitation and Taxonomic Revision of the Gecko Genus Ebenavia Boettger, 1878The Science of Nature. 105:49. DOI: 10.1007/s00114-018-1574-9 

[Herpetology • 2018] Boana icamiaba • Phylogeny of Map Tree Frogs, Boana semilineata Species Group (Anura: Hylidae), with A New Amazonian Species


Boana icamiaba
Peloso, Oliveira, Sturaro, Rodrigues, Lima-Filho, Bitar, Wheeler & Aleixo, 2018


Abstract.
Gladiator Frogs (Boana) is a Neotropical group comprised of 92 species sorted into seven species groups. Herein, we present a phylogeny of the Boana semilineata species group, including all valid nominal species currently or suspected to be assigned to it— many sequenced for the first time. Parsimony and maximum likelihood analyses of two genes (16S and COI) did not support the monophyly of the B. semilineata group as currently defined. To remedy this, B. secedens, currently assigned to the B. puchella species group, is transferred to the B. semilineata group. On the other hand, our analyses corroborate the inclusion of B. hutchinsi, B. pombali and B. wavrini in the B. semilineata group. The reinterpretation of the morphology of the lower palpebral membrane in B. pombali (previously described as absent, but actually present) corroborates that the reticulated membrane is a synapomorphy of this species group (albeit homoplastic—present in a few species not assigned to this group). A recent paper suggested (based on the analyses of 16S alone) that at least six unnamed taxa (candidate species) are hidden behind the names B. geographica and B. semilineata. Our analyses resulted in the discovery of additional unnamed lineages, one of which is described and named herein. This new species is diagnosed, among other characters, by having the flanks, anterior and posterior surfaces of thigh with dark brown or blackish stripes, and by the presence of a prepollex forming a projecting spine.

Keywords: Amazonia, Biodiversity, Cophomantinae, Hyla geographica, Taxonomy


  Boana icamiaba sp. nov. in life, paratype (MNRJ 90998) from Altamira, Pará, Brazil.

Photograph by Renan Oliveira.

Boana icamiaba sp. nov.

Etymology: A noun in apposition, given as homage in memory of the legendary Amazonian female warriors, the Icamiabas. These warriors, first described by friar Gaspar de Carvajal (a member of the Francisco Orellana expedition; Medina, 1894), were members of isolated tribes composed of women only. So far as we are aware this is the second taxon to honor to the icamiabas, the other one being a hooded tickspider, Cryptocellus icamiabas Tourinho and Azevedo, 2007.



Pedro L.V. Peloso, Renan M. De Oliveira, Marcelo J. Sturaro, Miguel T. Rodrigues, Geraldo R. Lima-Filho, Youszef O.C. Bitar, Ward C. Wheeler and Alexandre Aleixo. 2018. Phylogeny of Map Tree Frogs, Boana semilineata Species Group, with a New Amazonian Species (Anura: Hylidae). South American Journal of Herpetology. 13(2); 150-169. DOI:  10.2994/SAJH-D-17-00037.1

New Frog Species Named After Fabled Female Warriors 
 on.NatGeo.com/2muqL1k via @NatGeo

[Paleontology • 2018] Akainacephalus johnsoni • A New southern Laramidian Ankylosaurid from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA


Akainacephalus johnsoni 
Wiersma​ & Irmis, 2018 

 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5016



Abstract

A partial ankylosaurid skeleton from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah is recognized as a new taxonAkainacephalus johnsoni, gen. et sp. nov. The new taxon documents the first record of an associated ankylosaurid skull and postcranial skeleton from the Kaiparowits Formation. Preserved material includes a complete skull, much of the vertebral column, including a complete tail club, a nearly complete synsacrum, several fore- and hind limb elements, and a suite of postcranial osteoderms, making Akainacephalus johnsoni the most complete ankylosaurid from the Late Cretaceous of southern Laramidia. Arrangement and morphology of cranial ornamentation in Akainacephalus johnsoni is strikingly similar to Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis and some Asian ankylosaurids (e.g., Saichania chulsanensis, Pinacosaurus grangeri, and Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani); the cranium is densely ornamented with symmetrically arranged and distinctly raised ossified caputegulae which are predominantly distributed across the dorsal and dorsolateral regions of the nasals, frontals, and orbitals. Cranial caputegulae display smooth surface textures with minor pitting and possess a distinct conical to pyramidal morphology which terminates in a sharp apex. Character analysis suggests a close phylogenetic relationship with N. kirtlandensis, M. ramachandrani, Tarchia teresae, and S. chulsanensis, rather than with Late Cretaceous northern Laramidian ankylosaurids (e.g., Euoplocephalus tutus, Anodontosaurus lambei, and Ankylosaurus magniventris). These new data are consistent with evidence for distinct northern and southern biogeographic provinces in Laramidia during the late Campanian. The addition of this new ankylosaurid taxon from southern Utah enhances our understanding of ankylosaurid diversity and evolutionary relationships. Potential implications for the geographical distribution of Late Cretaceous ankylosaurid dinosaurs throughout the Western Interior suggest multiple time-transgressive biogeographic dispersal events from Asia into Laramidia.

Life reconstruction: Andrey Atuchin 


Systematic paleontology

Dinosauria Owen, 1842 sensu Padian and May, 1993
Ornithischia Seeley, 1887 sensu Padian and May, 1993
Thyreophora Nopcsa, 1915 sensu Sereno, 1986

Ankylosauria Osborn, 1923 sensu Carpenter, 1997
Ankylosauridae Brown, 1908 sensu Sereno, 1998
Ankylosaurinae Brown, 1908 sensu Sereno, 1986
Ankylosaurini Arbour and Currie, 2016

Akainacephalus, gen. nov.

Akainacephalus johnsoni, sp. nov.

Figure 4: Skull of Akainacephalus johnsoni (UMNH VP 20202).
Photographs of the skull of Akainacephalus johnsoni in (A), dorsal; and (B), ventral views. Line drawings in (C), dorsal; and (D), ventral views highlight major anatomical features.


Study sites: bpt, basipterygoid; bs, basisphenoid; ch, choana; exo, exoccipital; fm, foramen magnum; fca, frontal caputegulum; ins, internarial septum; laca, lacrimal caputegulum; loca, loreal caputegulum; mx, maxilla; mxtr, maxillary tooth row; naca, nasal caputegulum; ns, nuchal shelf; oc, occipital condyle; pal, palatine; prfca, prefrontal caputegulum; pmx, premaxilla; pmxs, interpremaxillry suture with oblong depression; pop, paroccipital process; ptv, pterygoid vacuity; q, quadrate; qj, quadratojugal; qjh, quadratojuga horn; so, supra occipital; snca, supranarial caputegulum; sob, supraorbital boss; sqh, squamosal horn.

Figure 3: Skull of Akainacephalus johnsoni (UMNH VP 20202). Photographs of the skull of Akainacephalus johnsoni in (A), left lateral; and (B), right lateral views. Line drawings in (C), left lateral; and (D), right lateral views highlight major anatomical features.

Study sites: en, external naris; fca, frontal caputegulum; j, jugal; jca, jugal caputegulum; l, lacrimal; laca, lacrimal caputegulum; loca, loreal caputegulum; mx, maxilla; n, nasal; naca, nasal caputegulae; ns, nuchal shelf; orb, orbit; pmx, premaxilla; prfca, prefrontal caputegulum; snca, supranarial caputegulum; sob, supraorbital boss; q, quadrate; qjh, quadratojugal horn; sqh, squamosal horn. 

Holotype: UMNH VP 20202, a partial skeleton comprising a complete skull, both mandibles, predentary, four dorsal, four dorsosacral, three sacral, one caudosacral, and eight caudal vertebrae, dorsal ribs, a complete tail club, both scapulae, left coracoid, right humerus, right ulna, partial left ilium, left femur, left tibia, left fibula, phalanx, two partial cervical osteoderm half rings, and 17 dorsal and lateral osteoderms of various sizes and morphologies.

Type locality: UMNH VP Locality 1109 (“HMG Quarry”), Horse Mountain area, GSENM, Kane County, southern Utah, USA.

Type stratigraphic horizon and age: UMNH VP Locality 1109 is a multitaxic bonebed deposited in a crevasse splay sandstone within the lower portion of the middle unit of the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation (Fig. 2A). The stratigraphic position of this site is approximately 190 m from the base of the formation (Roberts et al., 2013: fig. 6.3) and within approximately one meter stratigraphic proximity of the recently dated bentonite ash bed KP-07, which has produced a U-Pb zircon age of 76.26 ± 0.10 Ma (Roberts et al., 2013), providing a precise age constraint for Akainacephalus johnsoni.

Etymology: The genus name is derived from the Greek akaina, meaning “thorn” or “spine,” referring to the thorn-like cranial caputegulae of the holotype; and “cephalus,” the Greek meaning for head. The specific epithet honors Randy Johnson, volunteer preparator at the Natural History Museum of Utah, who skillfully prepared the skull and lower jaws of UMNH VP 20202.

Diagnosis: Akainacephalus johnsoni possesses the following autapomorphies: massive supraorbital bosses in lateral view, forming a tall backswept flange extending laterally over the orbits, and enveloping the anterodorsal and posterior margins of the orbit; nearly vertical projecting triangular quadratojugal horns; frontal possesses a large, flat, and centrally positioned hexagonal-shaped caputegulum; a combination of tightly spaced, symmetrically positioned pyramidal and conical-shaped caputegulae across the frontonasal region; a distinct midline row of conical-shaped caputegulae across the nasal region, symmetrically separating caputegulae situated dorsolaterally; basioccipital foramen anterior and dorsally to the occipital condyle. A. johnsoni also possesses a unique combination of character states: shares with Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis the presence of a large, laterally oriented supranarial osteoderm forming the postmaxillary/lacrimal ridge dorsal to the external nares; differs from Tsagantegia longicranialis, Talarurus plicatospineus, Pinacosaurus grangeri, all northern Laramidian taxa and Ziapelta sanjuanensis but shares with Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis, Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani, Saichania chulsanensis, and Tarchia kielanae the presence of well-pronounced cranial ornamentation located along the nasal and frontal regions of the skull that are characterized by a dense array of well-defined caputegulae with a distinct conical (N. kirtlandensis) and pyramidal (M. ramachandrani, S. chulsanensis, T. kilanae) morphology; shares with Euoplocephalus and Zuul crurivastator a globular surface texture on the tail club knob, which differs from the smoother texture in Ankylosaurus magniventris; differs from ZPAL MgD I/113, cf. Pinacosaurus, Saichania chulsanensis, and Dyoplosaurus acutosquameus, but similar to Anodontosaurus lambei, Euoplocephalus tutus, Zuul crurivastator, and Ankylosaurus magniventris in having a wider than long tail club knob ratio; and shares with ZPAL MgD I/113, cf. Pinacosaurus, D. acutosquameus, and Zuul crurivastator triangular osteoderms along the lateral surfaces on the proximal portion of the tail.


Figure 7: Variation in cranial ornamentation in selected Laramidian and Asian taxa, including Akainacephalus johnsoni.

Comparative line drawings highlighting major areas of cranial ornamentation in Akainacephalus johnsoni and closely related Laramidian and Asian taxa. Akainacephalus johnsoni (UMNH VP 20202) in (A), dorsal; (B), left lateral view compared to Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis (SMP VP-900) in (C), dorsal; and (D) left lateral view; Tarchia teresae (PIN 3142/250) in (E) dorsal; (F), left lateral view and Minotaurasaurus ramachandrani (INBR 21004) in (G), dorsal; and (H), left lateral view.

Study sites: acc po, accessory postorbital ossification; asob, anterior supraorbital boss; frca, frontal caputegulum; laca, lacrimal caputegulum; loca, loreal caputegulum; mso, medial supraorbital; mx, maxilla; n, external naris; naca, nasal caputegulae; nuca, nuchal caputegulae; orb, orbital; pmx, premxilla; pnca, postnarial caputegulum; pos postocular ossicles; prfca, prefrontal caputegulum; psob, posterior supraorbital boss; pt, pterygoid; q, quadrate; qjh, quadratojugal horn; snca, supranarial caputegulum; sqh, squamosal horn. 
Color scheme after Arbour & Currie (2013a). Dorsal view of N. kirtlandensis modified after Arbour et al. (2014). T. teresea (=Saichania chulsanensis in Arbour, Currie & Badamgarav, 2014) and M. ramachandrani modified after Arbour, Currie & Badamgarav (2014).


Figure 28: Preserved elements and skeletal reconstructions of Akainacephalus johnsoni.
A composite showing all holotype skeletal material of Akainacephalus johnsoni (UMNH VP 20202) anatomically arranged in dorsal view (A). Cartoon illustrating a full body reconstruction for A. johnsoni in (B), dorsal; and (C), left lateral view. Preserved material in the skeletal reconstructions is highlighted in orange.

  

Conclusion:
Akainacephalus johnsoni (UMNH VP 20202) is a new taxon of ankylosaurid dinosaur from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA. It consists of a complete cranium and significant amount of diagnostic postcranial material that can be distinguished from all other known Late Cretaceous Laramidian ankylosaurids. Akainacephalus johnsoni is closely related to its stratigraphically younger sister taxon, Nodocephalosaurus kirtlandensis from the Kirtland Formation of New Mexico. Both taxa are more closely related to Asian ankylosaurids than they are to other Laramidian ankylosaurids. This suggests multiple ankylosaurid dispersal events from Asia to Laramidia during the Late Cretaceous. Lastly, together with Dyoplosaurus acutossquameus and Scolosaurus cutleri (∼77 Ma) from northern Laramidia, Akainacephalus johnsoni represents one of the older known ankylosaurid dinosaurs (∼76.3 Ma) from the Late Cretaceous of western North America.



Jelle P. Wiersma​ and Randall B. Irmis. 2018. A New southern Laramidian Ankylosaurid, Akainacephalus johnsoni gen. et sp. nov., from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA. PeerJ. 6:e5016. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.5016

Newly discovered armored dinosaur from Utah reveals intriguing family history phys.org/news/2018-07-newly-armored-dinosaur-utah-reveals.html via @physorg_com
Mystery of Spiky-Skulled Utah Dinosaur Solved  livescience.com/63108-newfound-ankylosaur-has-asian-roots.html via @LiveScience

  


[Herpetology • 2018] Conspicuously Concealed: Revision of the Arid Clade of the Gehyra variegata (Gekkonidae) Group in Western Australia Using An Integrative Molecular and Morphological Approach, with the Description of Five Cryptic Species


Figure 4: Live images of members of the arid clade of the Gehyra variegata group. 
(A) Gehyra variegata, Carey Downs, WA; (B) Gpurpurascens, Ilkurlka, WA; (E) Gehyra capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA; (F) G. capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA;
(G) 
Gehyra ocellata sp. nov., Barrow Island, WA; (H) G. pilbara, Woodie Woodie, WA 

Kealley, Doughty​, Pepper, et al., 2018. 
(photos: B. Maryan, R.J. Ellis).

Abstract 
The methods used to detect and describe morphologically cryptic species have advanced in recent years, owing to the integrative nature of molecular and morphological techniques required to elucidate them. Here we integrate recent phylogenomic work that sequenced many genes but few individuals, with new data from mtDNA and morphology from hundreds of gecko specimens of the Gehyra variegata group from the Australian arid zone. To better understand morphological and geographical boundaries among cryptic forms, we generated new sequences from 656 Gehyra individuals, largely assigned to G. variegata group members over a wide area in Western Australia, with especially dense sampling in the Pilbara region, and combined them with 566 Gehyra sequences from GenBank, resulting in a dataset of 1,222 specimens. Results indicated the existence of several cryptic species, from new species with diagnostic morphological characters, to cases when there were no useful characters to discriminate among genetically distinctive species. In addition, the cryptic species often showed counter-intuitive distributions, including broad sympatry among some forms and short range endemism in other cases. Two new species were on long branches in the phylogram and restricted to the northern Pilbara region: most records of the moderately sized G. incognita sp. nov. are near the coast with isolated inland records, whereas the small-bodied saxicoline G. unguiculata sp. nov. is only known from a small area in the extreme north of the Pilbara. Three new species were on shorter branches in the phylogram and allied to G. montium. The moderately sized G. crypta sp. nov. occurs in the western and southern Pilbara and extends south through the Murchison region; this species was distinctive genetically, but with wide overlap of characters with its sister species, G. montium. Accordingly, we provide a table of diagnostic nucleotides for this species as well as for all other species treated here. Two small-bodied species occur in isolated coastal regions: G. capensis sp. nov. is restricted to the North West Cape and G. ocellata sp. nov. occurs on Barrow Island and other neighbouring islands. The latter species showed evidence of introgression with the mtDNA of G. crypta sp. nov., possibly due to recent connectivity with the mainland owing to fluctuating sea levels. However, G. ocellata sp. nov. was more closely related to G. capensis sp. nov. in the phylogenomic data and in morphology. Our study illustrates the benefits of combining phylogenomic data with extensive screens of mtDNA to identify large numbers of individuals to the correct cryptic species. This approach was able to provide sufficient samples with which to assess morphological variation. Furthermore, determination of geographic distributions of the new cryptic species should greatly assist with identification in the field, demonstrating the utility of sampling large numbers of specimens across wide areas.

Figure 4: Live images of members of the arid clade of the Gehyra variegata group.
(A) Gehyra variegata, Carey Downs, WA (WAM R119207; photo credit—B. Maryan); (B) Gpurpurascens, Ilkurlka, WA (B. Maryan);
(C) Gmontium, Skull Springs, WA (WAM R175332; R.J. Ellis); (D) G. montium, Port Hedland, WA (WAM R174324; P. Doughty);
(E) G. capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA (B. Maryan); (F) G. capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA (WAM R174314; R.J. Ellis);
 (G) G. ocellata sp. nov., Barrow Island, WA (R.J. Ellis); (H) G. pilbara, Woodie Woodie, WA (R.J. Ellis).

Composition of taxonomic groups within Australian Gehyra.

1. australis group (australisborroloolacatenatadubiakoirapamelarobusta)

2. *Relict species (xenopusspheniscuslazellimoritzipulingka)

3. variegata group:
 a. nana clade
(nanagirloorloogranulumkimberleyimultiporosaoccidentalisparananapluraporosapseudopunctata)

 b. Arid clade
  i. variegata species-group (variegatapilbaraminutamontiumversicolorcapensis sp. nov., crypta sp. nov., ocellata sp. nov.)
 ii. purpurascens species-group (purpurascenseinasleighensisincognita sp. nov.)
 iii. unguiculata sp. nov.
 iv. punctata

Notes:
Names used for various groups of Australian Gehyra species discussed in this and other recent papers (Ashman et al., 2018; Doughty et al., 2018).
* Species that do not fall neatly into either the australis or variegata groups, and tend to have relictual distributions.

Figure 4: Live images of members of the arid clade of the Gehyra variegata group.
(E) G. capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA (B. Maryan); (F) G. capensis sp. nov., Cape Range, WA (WAM R174314; R.J. Ellis); 
(G) 
G. ocellata sp. nov., Barrow Island, WA (R.J. Ellis); (H) G. pilbara, Woodie Woodie, WA (R.J. Ellis).

Gehyra capensis sp. nov.
North West Cape Gehyra
variegata B1 of Ashman et al. (2018)

Diagnosis. A small-bodied (to 46.0 mm SVL) species with a relatively long snout, internarial usually (72%) present, lower postnasal larger than upper, two pairs of chin shields, second infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six (occasionally seven) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 9–12 (mean 10.8) pre-cloacal pores. Background colour pinkish-grey with dark brown irregularly shaped spots or bars with numerous smaller pale white spots not in contact with dark markings, canthal, loreal and temporal stripes on head present (no post-orbital stripes) and ventrum not stippled. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members by the ND2 sites in Table 3.
....

Distribution. Restricted to the North West Cape of WA (Fig. 1B).

Habitat and ecology. Recorded from spinifex and low shrubs on limestone rocks. Also encountered under logs and sheets of tin on the ground, and on human-made structures indicating a penchant for climbing behaviour.

Etymology. The specific name refers to the North West Cape of WA to which this species is restricted.


Gehyra crypta sp. nov.
Western Cryptic Gehyra
Clade 3 or III of Sistrom, Donnellan & Hutchinson (2013)
variegataB3 of Ashman et al. (2018)

Diagnosis. A moderately sized (to 56.5 mm SVL) species with moderately short snout, internarial usually (80%) present, lower and upper postnasals of similar size, two pairs of chin shields, second or third infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six or seven (rarely eight) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 10–16 (mean 12.4) pre-cloacal pores. In preservative, light grey to dark brown with highly variable pattern: from isolated dark and pale bars to dark network with white spots to patternless, head stripes present but with lower post-orbital stripe at most a spot and ventrum moderately to heavily stippled. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members (except G. ocellata sp. nov.) by the ND2 sites in Table 3.

Distribution. Most records are from the southern and western Pilbara, with the northernmost records from the Burrup Peninsula, then inland through Millstream–Chichester National Park through the Hamersley Range to 50 km west of Newman. In the mid-west and WA Goldfields there are scattered genotyped records inland, away from the west coast, through the Gascoyne and Murchison bioregions, with the southernmost records from 150 km north of Kalgoorlie and the easternmost record near Laverton (see Fig. 1B).

Habitat and ecology. Possibly generalist habits. Collected from mulga woodlands and acacia shrubs, from under logs, granite and tin on hard soils. Also observed climbing on vertical surfaces of human-made structures and sheltering under bark on trees.

Etymology. The species epithet is derived from the Greek kruptos, meaning ‘hidden.’ The name alludes to this species similarity to other species in the arid clade of the G. variegata group. Used as an adjective.


Gehyra ocellata sp. nov.
Pilbara Island Gehyra
variegataB2 of Ashman et al. (2018)

Diagnosis. A small-bodied (to 49.0 mm SVL) species with moderately short snout, internarial absent or present, lower postnasal larger than upper, two pairs of chin shields, second infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six (occasionally seven) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 10–12 (mean 11.1) pre-cloacal pores. Background colour light to medium reddish-brown with numerous pale spots with fewer brown irregular markings, head stripes poorly defined or absent and ventrum with little or no stippling. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members (except G. crypta sp. nov.) by the ND2 sites in Table 3.

Distribution. Restricted to islands off the Pilbara coast near Karratha, including Barrow, Varanus, Trimouille and Hermite (Fig. 1B).

Habitat and ecology. Observed to inhabit termite mounds (P. Kendrick, R. J. Teale, 2018, personal communication). Otherwise poorly known, as most records are associated with oil and gas buildings and structures. Several records mention ‘under limestone slab.’

Etymology. The species epithet ocellata (New Latin) refers to the spotted appearance of this species. Used as an adjective.


Figure 4: Live images of members of the arid clade of the Gehyra variegata group. (A) Gehyra variegata, Carey Downs, WA (WAM R119207; photo credit—B. Maryan); (B) G. purpurascens, Ilkurlka, WA (B. Maryan); (C) G. montium, Skull Springs, WA (WAM R175332; R.J. Ellis); (D) G. montium, Port Hedland, WA (WAM R174324; P. Doughty)

Gehyra incognita sp. nov.
Northern Pilbara Cryptic Gehyra
variegataC2 of Ashman et al. (2018)

Diagnosis. A moderately sized (to 52.0 mm SVL) species with moderately short snout, internarial present or absent, lower postnasal larger or equal to upper, two pairs of chin shields, second infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six (rarely five or seven) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 10–16 (mean 12.0) pre-cloacal pores. In preservative, background colour medium grey to dark brown with poorly contrasting pattern of small dark and pale spots occasionally forming bars or networks, well-defined head stripes and ventrum heavily stippled. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members by the ND2 sites in Table 3.
....

Distribution. Most records are from genotyped individuals that occur near the Pilbara coast and have been collected along the Great Northern Highway. From 40 km east of Roebourne to Whim Creek and to Port Hedland area. Three inland isolated locations: Millstream–Chichester National Park, Woodstock–Abydos Protected Reserve (formerly Station; with several specimens genotyped) and from 40 km north of Marble Bar (see Fig. 1C).

Habitat and ecology. Likely arboreal. Habitat notes for quadrats that used pitfall traps for the Pilbara Biodiversity Survey (McKenzie, van Leeuwen & Pinder, 2009) mention tall acacia shrubs over Triodia, and substrates that included floodplain, clayey or silty sand and red sandy loam. The only other habitat notes from collectors are two records from Triodia plains, with no mention of rocky habitats.

Etymology. The specific name is derived from the Latin incognitus meaning ‘unknown,’ in reference to the heretofore complete ignorance of this species’ existence prior to genetic analyses. Used as an adjective.


Gehyra unguiculata sp. nov.
Crescent-marked Pilbara Gehyra
variegataC1 of Ashman et al. (2018)

Diagnosis. A small-bodied (to 39.0 mm SVL) species with moderately short snout, internarial present (67%) or absent (33%), lower postnasal larger or equal to upper, two pairs of chin shields, second infralabial notched by parinfralabial scales, usually six (occasionally seven) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe and males with 11–13 (mean 12.3) pre-cloacal pores. In preservative, background colour light tan to medium brown with crescent-shaped dark brown bars with pale spots posteriorly, crown with pale white spots, usually poorly defined head stripes and ventrum with only light stippling towards lateral edges. Genetically diagnosed from other arid clade members by the ND2 sites presented in Table 3.
....

Distribution. Only known from two locations 30 km apart in the north-eastern Pilbara near Shay Gap, north of the De Grey River (Fig. 1C).

Habitat and ecology. Several specimens were captured in pitfall traps at sites PHYC03 and PHYC07 as part of the Pilbara Biodiversity Survey (McKenzie, van Leeuwen & Pinder, 2009). Descriptions for these sites were of scree on or near granite outcrops or hills of basalt.

Etymology. Unguiculata is Latin (diminutive) for fingernail (or claw) and refers to the resemblance of the dorsal pattern elements of this species to small fingernails. Used as an adjective.


Conclusions:
The systematics of Gehyra is intrinsically difficult owing to their conservative form, ability to shift habitat preferences from trees to rocks (Ashman et al., 2018), rapid evolution of body size (Doughty et al., 2012; Sistrom et al., 2012), a large specimen burden, few photographs in life and colours and pattern lost rapidly in preservative, among others. We generated relatively short sequences of the ND2 mtDNA gene for over 650 specimens, combining these with previously genotyped specimens and examining hundreds of specimens for morphology. We were able to make progress by combining these data with previous phylogenomic work that included hundreds of nDNA loci and that firmly established the existence of cryptic species, but based on few specimens. This combined approach is especially suited for cryptic species, as a good understanding of the geographical and morphological limits of cryptic species requires examination of many specimens over a wide area. The combined approach we advocate here culminated in the description of five new species, and clarified the distributions of previously described species as well.

Although great progress has been made on this group taxonomically, there is still further work to be done. Owing to the difficulty of describing these new species, it is clear that photographs in life are an essential part of Gehyra specimen preparation because they capture the patterning, a key component of the phenotype, and should be routinely taken when collecting them. Genetic samples (e.g. tail tip in ethanol) of Gehyra taken in the field are also essential to determine which species occurs in a specific location, especially where two or more cryptic forms overlap. Both these technologies (digital photography and genetic analyses) were not available only several decades ago, and images and tissue samples should be routinely collected by field workers today. Refinement of the diagnoses and descriptions beyond that presented here based on new phenotypic and genetic information are welcome, and may even reveal further cryptic forms within this difficult group.


Luke Kealley, Paul Doughty​, Mitzy Pepper, J. Scott Keogh, Mia Hillyer and Joel Huey. 2018. Conspicuously Concealed: Revision of the Arid Clade of the Gehyra variegata (Gekkonidae) Group in Western Australia Using An Integrative Molecular and Morphological Approach, with the Description of Five Cryptic Species. PeerJ. 6:e5334.  DOI:  10.7717/peerj.5334

Thursday, July 19, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Phrynopus mariellaleo • A New Species of Phrynopus (Anura: Craugastoridae) from the northeastern Andes of Peru, Its Phylogenetic Position, and Notes on the Relationships of Holoadeninae


Phrynopus mariellaleo 
Venegas, Barboza, De la Riva & Padial, 2018

 Photographs by Pablo J. Venegas.  facebook.com/CORBIDI

Abstract
We report the discovery of a geographically disjunct and morphologically distinctive species of direct-developing frog of the genus Phrynopus (Phrynopus mariellaleo sp. nov.) that changes considerably our understanding of the distribution of species in this Andean genus. The type locality lies on a subcordillera (Cerro de Campanario area) of the extreme northeastern portion of the Cordillera Central of Peru, on the headwaters of the Mayo River, Amazonas department, at 2575 m asl (6°6’42.9’’S, 77°26’24’’W). This area is situated 170 km to the NE from the northernmost record of Phrynopus known so far. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of a supermatrix (13269 aligned positions of gene sequences of four mitochondrial and ten nuclear genes) of 105 terminals (representing 93 named and 9 unnamed species of Holoadeninae) recover this new species as the sister to Phrynopus auriculatus, a species occurring more than 500 km south of the type locality of the new species. Both Phrynopus auriculatus and the new species occur at moderate elevations on the easternmost stretches of the Andean subcordilleras; their sister relationship point to a potentially broader distribution of species of Phrynopus along the poorly sampled intervening areas of the eastern hills of the Andes. The new species has a conspicuous and visibly large tympanic membrane (a trait rare in the clade), outlined by a marked bold black supratympanic fold and a black facial mask, and exhibits conspicuous dorsolateral, scapular, and middorsal Y-shaped folds. Specimens were found on the forest floor—a rocky substrate covered by a thick layer of leaf litter, moss and roots—of a primary humid montane forest (Yungas ecoregion) with scattered patches of bamboo (Chusquea spp.). Our phylogenetic analyses corroborate the monophyly of all Holoadeninae genera, including Euparkerella and Psychrophrynella, genera for which tests of monophyly were pending, and corroborates Hypodactylus nigrovittatus as part of Hypodactylus and sister to a clade that includes H. brunneus, H. elassodiscus and H. peraccai.

Keywords: Amphibia, Alto Mayo, Amazon Basin, Cordillera Central, dynamic homology, Terrarana, tree-alignment, Yungas

FIGURE 2. Dorsal (A) and ventral (B) views, and lateral view of head (C) of the female holotype (CORBIDI 11668) of Phrynopus mariellaleo sp. nov. in preservative (SVL = 39.7). Photographs by Pablo J. Venegas.

FIGURE 4. Paratypes of Phrynopus mariellaleo sp. nov. showing variation in dorsal and ventral external morphological traits.
(A, B) adult female (CORBIDI 11692), (C, D) adult female (CORBIDI 11657).

 Photographs by Pablo J. Venegas.   facebook.com/CORBIDI

Phrynopus mariellaleo sp. nov.

 Etymology. The specific name “mariellaleo” is a patronym (used as a substantive in apposition) for Mariella Leo, in recognition of her tireless efforts to preserve biological diversity in Peru. Since 1982 she has been working for the Asociación Peruana para la Conservación de la Naturaleza (APECO), one of the most important non-profit organizations dedicated to biological conservation in Peru. With APECO, Mariella continues to work for the protection of montane ecosystems in Amazonas Department, including the area where the new species was discovered.

FIGURE 4. Paratypes of Phrynopus mariellaleo sp. nov. showing variation in dorsal and ventral external morphological traits. (A, B) adult female (CORBIDI 11692), (C, D) adult female (CORBIDI 11657), and (E, F) adult male (CORBIDI 11658).
Photographs by Pablo J. Venegas.   facebook.com/CORBIDI


Pablo J. Venegas, Andy C. Barboza, Ignacio De la Riva and José M. Padial. 2018. A New Species of Phrynopus from the northeastern Andes of Peru, Its Phylogenetic Position, and Notes on the Relationships of Holoadeninae (Anura: Craugastoridae).  Zootaxa. 4446(4); 501–524.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4446.4.5


[Botany • 2018] Tupistra siphonantha (Asparagaceae) • A New Species from Lao P.D.R. with A Simple Pistil


Tupistra siphonantha  N. Tanaka, Vislobokov & D. P. Hannon

in Tanaka, Hannon & Vislobokov, 2018. 

Summary
Tupistra siphonantha N. Tanaka, Vislobokov & D. P. Hannon, a new species from central Laos is described and illustrated. It is distinguishable from all other members of Tupistra mainly by the synchronously blooming flowers, clavate-tubular, cream-white or fulvous perianth with strongly incurved segments, latrorse anthers with thecae separated by a round (papillary) projection from the perianth, and very small, simple pistil bearing a single ovule in the locule. It is also unique in having ellipsoid, smooth, orange fruits that are similar to those of Rohdea. The taxonomic position and features of the flowers and fruits of this species are briefly discussed. A key to the species of Tupistra reported from Laos is also provided.

Key Words: Affinity, Aspidistreae, Convallarieae, Indochina, lithophyte, new species, Rohdea 

Fig. 1 Tupistra siphonantha (under cultivation).
A whole plant with two flowering scapes; B spike of fulvous flowers; C spike of beige flowers; D plant with hanging scape bearing whitish flowers; E spike of creamy white flowers (close up of spike from D); F basal part of plant in fruit; G fruiting scape with remnants of withered flowers; H four orange fruits; J three seeds (left) and one fruit cut to show inside (right).
Photos: D. P. Hannon. layout: N. Tanaka.

Tupistra siphonantha N. Tanaka, Vislobokov & D. P. Hannon sp. nov. 
Type: Laos, Khammouane Province, D. P. Hannon s.n. (holotype HNT!; isotype K!).

Recognition: Differs from all other members of Tupistra by the synchronously blooming flowers, clavate-tubular, cream-white or fulvous perianths with strongly incurved segments, latrorse anthers with thecae prominently separated by a round protrusion from the perianth, and very small, simple pistil bearing a single ovule in the locule.
....

Etymology: The specific epithet refers to the tubular flowers.


Noriyuki Tanaka, Dylan P. Hannon and Nikolay A. Vislobokov. 2018. Tupistra siphonantha (Asparagaceae), A New Species from Lao P.D.R. with A Simple Pistil. Kew Bulletin. 73:32.  DOI: 10.1007/s12225-018-9754-5

[Botany • 2018] Orobanche javakhetica (Orobanchaceae) • A New Species from the Caucasus (Armenia)


Orobanche javakhetica Piwow., Ó. Sánchez & Moreno Mor.

in Piwowarczyk, Pedraja, Moral, et al., 2018. 

Abstract
Orobanche javakhetica (Orobanchaceae) is described as a new, probably endemic, species from the Lesser Caucasus in Armenia. It grows on a subalpine meadow, where it parasitises Lomelosia caucasica (Dipsacaceae). The newly-described species is very characteristic and different from other known Orobanche, however some morphological similarity may exist with species from the Orobanche subsect. Curvatae, particularly with species of the Orobanche series Krylowianae. A detailed description, illustrations, a comparison with the most similar species with identification key, and phylogenetic analysis are provided.

Keywords: Lomelosia caucasica, Javakheti range, Lesser Caucasus, holoparasites, taxonomy, Orobanche, plant parasites, Eudicots


FIGURE 2. Inflorescences and general habit of Orobanche javakhetica.

 Photos by Renata Piwowarczyk.

Orobanche javakhetica Piwow., Ó. Sánchez & Moreno Mor., sp. nov.  

Etymology:― The epithet ‘javakhetica’ derives from the name of the Javakheti mountain range (Dzhavakheti range), where the new species was discovered.

  Habitat with the dominant host species of Lomelosia caucasica.
Photos by Renata Piwowarczyk.


Renata Piwowarczyk, Óscar Sánchez Pedraja, Gonzalo Moreno Moral , Magdalena Denysenko-Bennett and Grzegorz Góralski and Dagmara Kwolek. 2018. Orobanche javakhetica (Orobanchaceae): A New Species from the Caucasus (Armenia). Phytotaxa. 360(2); 135–144. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.360.2.5
Orobanche javakhetica Piwow., Ó. Sánchez & Moreno Mor. - nowy gatunek dla nauki z Armenii. Dzisiaj się ukazała publikacja w Phytotaxa,  mapress.com/j/pt/article/view/phytotaxa.360.2.5
Rośnie na około 2230 m n.p.m. i pasożytuje na Lomelosia caucasica (Dipsacaceae). Nazwę nadałam od pasma górskiego Javakheti, gdzie został znaleziony.

Renata Piwowarczyk

[Paleontology • 2018] Xiaophis myanmarensis • A mid-Cretaceous Embryonic-to-neonate Snake in Amber from Myanmar


Xiaophis myanmarensis
Xing, Caldwell, Chen, Nydam, Palci, Simões, McKellar, Lee, Liu, Shi, Wang & Bai, 2018


Abstract
We present the first known fossilized snake embryo/neonate preserved in early Late Cretaceous (Early Cenomanian) amber from Myanmar, which at the time, was an island arc including terranes from Austral Gondwana. This unique and very tiny snake fossil is an articulated postcranial skeleton, which includes posterior precloacal, cloacal, and caudal vertebrae, and details of squamation and body shape; a second specimen preserves a fragment of shed skin interpreted as a snake. Important details of skeletal ontogeny, including the stage at which snake zygosphene-zygantral joints began to form along with the neural arch lamina, are preserved. The vertebrae show similarities to those of fossil Gondwanan snakes, suggesting a dispersal route of Gondwanan faunas to Laurasia. Finally, the new species is the first Mesozoic snake to be found in a forested environment, indicating greater ecological diversity among early snakes than previously thought.

Fig. 1. Overview of amber clast with synchrotron x-ray µCT image of articulated snake skeleton (DIP-S-0907).
 Amber clast with included skeletal material.  

  
Fig. 4. Light photographs of probable snake shed skin (DIP-V-15104).


Systematic paleontology
 Squamata Oppel, 1811 
Serpentes Linnaeus, 1758 

Xiaophis myanmarensis gen. et sp. nov. 

Holotype: DIP-S-0907 [Dexu Institute of Palaeontology (DIP)], articulated postcranial skeleton (Total Length = 47.5 mm), ~97 vertebrae and ribs, and integument. 

Type locality/horizon: Angbamo site, Tanai Township, Myitkyina District, Kachin Province, Myanmar (98.8 ± 0.6 Ma ago; earliest Cenomanian). 

Etymology: Xiaophis”—Xiao from the Chinese word for “dawn” and in honor of Xiao Jia, the amber specialist who donated the specimens to the DIP, Chaozhou, China; ophis, Greek for snake; and “myanmarensis” in recognition of Myanmar.


An artist's conception of snakes that recently emerged from their eggs, on the floor of the amber-producing forest of Myanmar 99 million years ago. (Yi Liu)

the inferred pattern of light and dark pigmentation on the larger snake, based on a skin fragment found in Burmese amber. (Yi Liu)


Lida Xing, Michael W. Caldwell, Rui Chen, Randall L. Nydam, Alessandro Palci, Tiago R. Simões, Ryan C. McKellar, Michael S. Y. Lee, Ye Liu, Hongliang Shi, Kuan Wang and Ming Bai. 2018. A mid-Cretaceous Embryonic-to-neonate Snake in Amber from Myanmar. Science Advances. 4(7); eaat5042. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat5042

Oldest baby snake fossil, 99 million years old, discovered in Myanmar usat.ly/2uxZm2W via @usatoday
First Baby Snake From Dinosaur Era Found in Amber on.NatGeo.com/2NV0zcJ via @NatGeoScience
Rare baby snake fossil found in amber from Age of Dinosaurs  discoverycampus.com/2018/07/18/rare-baby-snake-fossil-found-in-amber-from-age-of-dinosaurs/